The British government has re-iterated that there has been no change in stance on a flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh despite the Egyptian ambassador calling for British tourists to return to the red sea resort.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said “we will resume flights as soon as we can” but that security measures were still under “constant review”.
Nasser Kamel told World Travel Market on Monday that the UK was “lagging behind” other countries in terms of tourism to Egypt because of the lack of access to Sharm, a traditional hotspot for British holidaymakers.
But it has been off-limits to airlines flying from the UK ever since a Russian jet was brought down in a terror attack in 2015.
When asked about a date for the resumption of flights to Sharm, he said it was “a question for the UK government” and said the airport had passed all necessary safety assessments.
He went as far as to say that Sharm el-Sheikh was safer than some airports in the UK.
Earlier this year, Egyptian officials reportedly said they felt “badly let down” by Britain, a long-standing ally of Egypt’s and one of the biggest source markets of Egyptian tourism until recent years.
Visitor numbers from the UK have slightly recovered on last year, rising to 230,000 in the first nine months of 2017 against 170,000 last year.
But they remain well below their peak of over one million in 2009-2010 and the 750,000 that made the journey in 2014.
Germany, which had cancelled flights to Sharm el-Sheikh but has since returned, has sent more than 800,000 tourists to Egypt in the year up to the end of September.
The total number of arrivals to Egypt is expected to pass the eight million mark this year, but that number is much smaller than the 14 million that made the trip in 2010.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: “The security of British nationals is our top priority, and we took the decision to suspend flights from Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2015 following the Metro Jet crash to protect the travelling public.
“We continue to work closely with the Egyptian authorities on security arrangements at the airport. We keep aviation security under constant review and will resume flights as soon as we can.”
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